Murder at Morningside
A Missy DuBois Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Date of Publication: May 24, 2016
Number of pages: 190
Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana's Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?
Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women's bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she's going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair...
Before Beatrice could say more, the front door flew open and in stomped an elderly gentleman. He was on the verge of a good old-fashioned hissy fit.
“Y’all don’t deserve a say in this wedding!” he said to a young woman who’d slunk in behind him.
The girl looked to be the right age for his daughter. She wore flip-flops and a wrinkled peasant blouse, and she buried her head in her hands. Well, that lifted the blouse an inch or two and exposed her bare stomach.
Lorda mercy. It seemed the girl and her fiancé must have eaten supper before they said grace, as we said here in the South, because an unmistakable bump appeared under her top. She looked to be about four months along, give or take a few weeks, and I could see why her daddy wasn’t too happy with her right about now.
After a piece, she lifted her chin and glared at him. “I hate you!” Her voice rippled as cold as the river water that ran nearby. “I wish you were dead.” She stalked away.
I fully expected the man to cringe, or at least follow her. Instead, he merely glanced our way and shrugged. After a minute, he pivoted on the spectacle he’d caused and casually strolled away, leaving a bit of frost in the air.
“Oh my. Why don’t we continue,” Beatrice said.
Poor Beatrice. She obviously wanted to divert our attention elsewhere. It couldn’t have been every day one of her hotel guests wished another guest was dead. She hustled us farther into the ballroom, as if nothing had happened, all the while explaining the history of Morningside Plantation.
Please welcome Sandra Bretting to Musings and Ramblings for a little Author Q&A.
*Offers Sandra Bretting a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade and a plate of pecan pie with Blue Bell ice cream.*
How has your writing career changed in the past year?
Now that I’m writing a series, my day is more structured than ever before. I try to write about four hours a day, six days a week. I may not make it, but that’s the goal! I’m still writing for the Houston Chronicle, too, and that keeps me focused.
From where have your recently drawn writing inspiration?
My best inspiration comes from other writers. Some of the books I’ve read lately have been so darn good. (Hello…I loved The Nightingale so much, I would’ve eaten the pages afterward with whipped cream if I could’ve!)
Great writing can be so inspiring. I may wish like heck I’d written the book, but once I get past the jealousy, I can appreciate the brilliance that went into them. I read a little bit of everything: mainstream, cozies, thrillers. I figure good writing is good writing, no matter what the genre.
Which of the four seasons best suits your personality and why?
I like to think I have a summertime personality. I’m a terrible optimist; I really think the glass is half-full… of champagne. Anything is possible in the summertime. That’s how I like to live my life. I may get burned once or twice, but I’ll have a great time doing it.
Describe your perfect day.
Hmmm… definitely sleeping in a bit. (I married an early riser who gets up at 4 a.m. On purpose.) Then, I’d have breakfast outside on my patio (it’s that summer personality coming through again). Maybe a few hours of writing afterward. But this time it would be effortless writing, where the muse parks herself on my shoulder and the words just flow. Follow that up with a massage, a long nap and some barbecue back on the patio, and Viola! The perfect day.
Which five characters from novels would you like have dinner with?
Ooohhh.. great question. Probably Jay Gatsby, because I’d love to see his house. And Flavia de Luce from Alan Bradley’s series, because she’s so darn spunky. I’d also like to share a meal with Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, because it’d be fun to hear her say “fiddle-dee-dee” in person. Then, maybe share a meal with Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler’s Wife, so he could tell me about the places he’s been. Lastly, I’d like to have dinner with Precious Romotswe from The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, because she’s so wise and kind.
Bonus Fun Question:
A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
Only two words needed: Global Warming.
Thanks for sharing with us today. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
Not sure if it’s wise…but I’d like to say “thank you” to everyone who picks up my book, or any book, for that matter. I can’t imagine a world without good books. Thank you for inviting me here today!
Sandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.
Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014). Readers can reach her online at www.sandrabretting.com and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandra.bretting.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads